Cooking Cleanup Crisis? A Guide to Removing the Toughest Stains and Grime from Pots and Pans

(August 01, 2018) / by Whitney Bunchkowski

Cooking Cleanup Crisis? A Guide to Removing the Toughest Stains and Grime from Pots and Pans

The dishwashers in our Springs luxury apartment homes are a wonderful convenience, but every now and then there's a pan or baking dish that needs a little bit of elbow grease. Save time and effort with our favorite tips for cleaning the greasiest, stickiest, most caked-on cookware stains.

Burnt and Scorched Pans

Amazingly, plain old H2O can do most of the work removing burnt-on stains.

  • Add a layer of water along with a cup of vinegar to the pan. Bring the water to a boil, then remove from heat and add two tablespoons of baking soda. Empty the pan and wipe debris with a non-abrasive scouring pad.
  • If you have enameled cookware, use a wooden spoon to remove the debris and prevent scratches.
  • Out of baking soda? Alka-Seltzer provides enough fizz to make a good substitute.

Greasy Pans

You may remember from high school chemistry class that oil and water don't mix. As a result, cooking oils can build up on pots and pans.

  • Fill the greasy pot or pan with hot water and add a few squirts of Dawn or another grease-cutting dish detergent. Stir the water to generate some foam and let sit for an hour. Use a non-abrasive scouring pad to remove the grease and rinse with warm water.
  • Even non-stick pans can develop a greasy film. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes and simply scrape away the grease with a plastic utensil or scouring pad.

Grungy Baking Sheets

Sprinkle Bar Keeper's Friend or a similar commercial cleaning product on the baking sheet and scrub with a balled-up piece of aluminum foil. Be careful not to use this method on a baking sheet with a special coating.

Sticky Pans

Tea tree oil isn't just a multi-purpose health and beauty aid. Use a few drops of tea tree oil along with a few drops of dish detergent to remove a sticky film.

Cast Iron Skillets

Cast iron skillets are old-school, but they're still highly valued for their safety, durability and adaptability. The downside is that conventional washing techniques destroy the features that make cast iron such a good cooking material.

  • Wash by hand using hot water and a stiff brush. Clean as soon as possible after use.
  • Remove stubborn food particles with a paste of water and coarse kosher salt.
  • Never allow a cast iron skillet to soak in water or run it through a dishwasher. Avoid dish detergent and steel wool.
  • Dry the damp skillet thoroughly by placing it on a stove burner over low heat for about five minutes.
  • Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to the inside of the pan and buff away the excess before storing in a dry area.
  • If the skillet develops a dull appearance, reseason with vegetable oil or shortening.

Do you have a favorite cookware cleaning tip that we missed? Share it with us in the comments!

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